Adhisthana 2019

Page 1



Sangharakshita, 1999

‘...if the Order is spiritually united, if it is in harmony, then a truly wonderful thing will happen. The Order then will be the locus for the manifestation of the Bodhicitta. As you all know we sometimes liken the Order to the eleven headed and thousand armed Avalokitesvara. But, so to speak, it’s not just a manner of speaking, it’s not just a figure of speech, we should take it very seriously, even take it literally.’



The more we coincide in our teachings, practices, institutions and inspiration, the more we will be able to remain in close harmony with each other, and thereby channel the thousand armed Avalokitesvara, and pass on to others the flavour of the transcendental in this particular way, as transcending individuals, and as encompassing community.

I know it seems quixotic; our tiny little spark of light in this ocean of darkness seems almost futile, but without a spark you don’t get a fire. So we have to keep on striking that spark until maybe a little bit of fire begins to spread. It is of the greatest importance for us to keep that spark within and amongst us. Subhuti, 2018


Sangharakshita’s Hand, Varada Mudra, Alokavira

The System of Practice Integration 22 Positive Emotion 36 Spiritual Death 50 Spiritual Rebirth 62 Spiritual Receptivity 82

Adhisthana 2019 Saddhanandi 4

Information Community 96 Calendar 98

Order + Mitra 66 Open Retreats 72

Gatherings 86 Order Weekends + Conventions 88 Triratna International Gatherings 94

Order Retreats System of Practice 8 Sadhana 28 Dharma Study 40 Training Retreats 56


Adhisthana in Saddhanandi

06/07 ADHISTHANA IN 2019

At 6am this morning a team of us put up flags in preparation for a day of private ordinations, meanwhile three other events gathered for morning meditation. At Adhisthana, we’ve become accustomed to the ebb and flow of retreats, meetings, guests and pilgrims: watching multiple events gather for lunch in the courtyard, old friends unexpectedly meeting, new connections being founded. Since the opening of Adhisthana five years ago, it’s becoming clearer how this flow of activity mirrors something significant: that we are all involved in something much larger and more meaningful than we realised. Whilst living this life of activity I’ve also been studying the Four Noble truths. I’ve been wondering if I really understand the full import of this teaching and the nature of dukkha, and found myself asking a friend in what way it was really possible to eradicate all suffering through Dharma practice? I’ve also been investigating the slogan ‘drive all blames into one’ from the mind training teachings, and again, I find myself questioning whether I really believe in the truth of this slogan - that my tendency to blame others is rooted in self-clinging. These questions aren’t academic for me, they are central to my life as a dharma-farer. They are questions that leave me more awake. I’m beginning to understand more clearly this process of deepening my understanding of the Dharma from the first level of wisdom to the second level and beyond – from hearing a slogan as simply information to understanding the full meaning and implications of it. It’s a subtle process and requires a commitment that I sometimes find hard to contact. When I asked Bhante for some instruction he said simply ‘you just need to think deeply about things, over and over’.

This process is also relevant to us as a world-wide community: How do we help each other think more deeply about the Buddha-Dharma and our experience in the light of this Dharmic perspective? How do our institutions support that process? These questions are at the heart of Adhisthana’s vision, and in our sixth year I hope our programme reflects this importance. Using the system of practice as our main framework, we will continue to explore the Dharma through Bhante’s particular presentation and emphases, articulating the breadth and depth of that system in all its facets. There are several meditation retreats, with a particular emphasis on Sadhana and the exploration of the ‘Maya Way’. Alongside these meditation retreats will be a series of study retreats, highlighting the importance of reflection and direct investigation of the Dharma: looking at the nature of views; Madhyamaka and Yogacara philosophy; and Asangha’s teachings on ethics. This will culminate in September with a Study Convention: various study strands will be covered by different study leaders, woven together with shrine room practice and a series of talks delivered by Subhuti. We all need a question that wakes us up, a question that isn’t just academic, but one that has meaning and life in it if only we allow ourselves to hear it. Unfortunately, the habit of ignoring is strong and the surrounding culture of blame is seductive. We need the Dharma, we need to study the Dharma, clarify the meaning of the Dharma, and realise it’s implications. We need to commit ourselves to thinking deeply, over and over again, not just for ourselves but for our whole community.

System of Practice

Celestial Hemisphere, Wellcome Collection

Anapanasati + the Open Dimension of Being


Viveka, Dhammarati + Saddhanandi 3-10 May £259/182

One trains oneself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.’ One trains oneself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.’ One trains oneself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on dispassion.’ One trains oneself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.’ One trains oneself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on cessation.’ One trains oneself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on cessation.’ One trains oneself, ‘I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.’ One trains oneself, ‘I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.’ Anapanasati Sutta, MN118 An immersive week with the Buddha’s intimate and direct instructions for full awakening as handed down in the 16 stanzas of the Anapanasati Sutta. We will especially spend time with the final four wisdom or vipassana instructions as a doorway to the open dimension of being. The retreat will primarily emphasise periods of silence and meditation, augmented by practices of insight enquiry and ritual.

Bodhicitta: The Heart of Buddhism Vessantara 17-26 May £333/234

Over nine days, we shall explore the Positive Emotion aspect of our Mandala of Spiritual Practice, taking it into the territory of bodhicitta – the union of compassion and wisdom.


We’ll approach the arising of bodhicitta in a practical way. With bodhicitta, our heart is open to life and knows its true nature. So how do we open our heart? Do we prise it open, coax it, persuade it? Does it somehow open us? How do we avoid being overwhelmed when it does open? What other challenges come up, and how do we meet them? To help catalyse freeing processes within our heart-mind, we’ll draw on our treasury of practices – the 4 immeasurables, insight explorations, visualisation, tonglen, and other Mind Training methods. We’ll also look at the fundamental principles that underlie all bodhicitta practice. We’ll be mostly in silence, and there will be presentations and guided meditations, daily devotional practice, and the opportunity for meditation reviews.

Sadhana: Integrating in the Maya Way


Vijayamala + team 14-21 June £259/182

Every sadhana practice contains a complete unfolding of a dharma life. We integrate around going for refuge. We open the heart and gain inspiration and momentum for our practice by placing it in the context of Bodhicitta. With a deep letting go into the blue sky of sunyata, we become sky divers into the freedom of the nature of mind. But the special gift of sadhana is that it enables us to explore what it could mean to live our lives in complete creativity, by putting us in touch with the embodied qualities of a freed mind, a mind without clinging. We practise on the cushion and in our lives, receptive to and influenced by, these qualities. We dance through the subtle interplay of form and emptiness. Until finally we sit fully integrated in the maya way – at its most profound a non-dual experience of the insubstantial, ungraspable, process nature of all phenomena, which is not obstructed by its clear, tangible appearance. We’ll be mostly in silence, with guided meditations, workshops, time for personal practice and meditation reviews.

Six Elements

The Contemplation of the Six Elements is a fundamental insight practice. By bringing awareness to the five elements of form, and by contemplating them in the light of the lakshanas, we can release our identification with them. Similarly with the element of Consciousness; however, in this stage of the practice, we can also examine the five omnipresent mental events to undermine our identification with the mind. The precision of this approach supports us in releasing self-clinging and can lead to an experience of genuine freedom.

Bodhiketu, Maitreyi + Manjuvajra 20-27 Sept ÂŁ259/182


Ash #1, Charles Griffin

The retreat will be mainly in silence so that everyone can follow their own inspiration. There will also be presentations, group discussion about the meditation, and devotional practice.

The Smooth Path to Emancipation: the Mula Yogas Parami + team 15-22 Nov £259/182

Mula is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘root’ and ‘foundation’, while Yoga simply means ‘that unites’. In a talk given in 1968, Sangharakshita said they are so called because they are practices which initiate the process of integrating one part of our nature with another, culminating in the state of perfect integration: integration of wisdom and compassion, sunyata and bliss, at the highest level, which is Buddhahood.


The traditional Mula Yogas were revised for the Order in 1992 and it is these which we will explore: the Bodhicitta practice; the Guru Yoga; the Vajrasattva visualisation and the Offering of the Mandala. We will also look at the Going for Refuge and prostration practice. In 2016 Parami had a number of conversations with Bhante about the Mula Yogas. He is keen that all Order Members have some experience of these practices and suggested that it would be very beneficial to hold retreats exploring them at Adhisthana. Bhante also made it clear that such retreats would include discussion, study and devotion alongside the meditation practices themselves.

Image: ClearVision

‘ It is through imagery,

symbols, myths, and metaphors that the Imagination, the whole person, is able to respond to or experience reality as minute particulars in their totality. If you do this, you are not just experiencing reality in one aspect, which leaves you sliding on the surface, nor are you just sliding from one aspect to another; rather, you are seeing all aspects of reality, not just on the surface, but in their depths.’ Sangharakshita, Wisdom Beyond Words

Blake’s Mandala: Integration through Imagination

For Blake, these aspects of humanity became imaginatively embodied in his vivid images of the ‘four Zoas’ something that fascinated Bhante, and Atula, for decades. Bhante has often spoken of the significance of Blake for us as Dharma-farers evolving our practice in a Western cultural context. We’ll further explore and clarify this by connecting with our own direct experience and looking at psychological process Blake describes and encourages. In particular, we will explore the correspondences which Bhante has seen between Blake’s four Zoas and the five Buddha Mandala, with particular emphasis on the resonance of Blake’s ‘fall of the Zoas’ with the ‘turning about in the deepest seat of consciousness’.

Atula, Ratnaprabha, Saccanama + Satyalila 28 November – 5 December £259/182


...or how sensation, passion, reason and imagination can be reconciled.

Field for the British Isles, Anthony Gormley

Aligning Ourselves with the Buddha Ratnadharini

I thought I was a reasonably nice person, until I first began to meditate and was shocked to discover myself hating people I passed on the street. I don’t think I’m unusual, although I do have my own particular tendencies! Most of us find when we begin our spiritual lives that we are a confusing mass of contradictory ‘selves’ pulling in different directions. Some of these are helpful and some not so helpful, and this leads to tension and disappointment in ourselves. So it’s not surprising that the first stage in our mandala of spiritual practice is integration. However integration is not something that we do once and then move on from; the process of integration continues and develops as we do, in fact the spiritual life could be described as an ever higher – or deeper – experience of integration. But to start with, we need to become familiar with all our different ‘selves’; we may be quite different at home than at work, or in relation to family rather than with friends, or even in public or private. Our primary tool is mindfulness. Mindfulness – or awareness – of our bodily sensations; our feelings – pleasant or painful;

our thoughts; and the world outside of ourselves – including other people. Our most focused experience of mindfulness is likely to be in meditation, but the purpose of meditation practice is to enhance our practice of mindfulness at all times and in all places.


Periods of solitude reveal behaviour and mental states that we cannot blame on anyone else and have to take full responsibility for. We experience this to some extent in meditation, but spending days – even weeks or months – alone reflects us back to ourselves very clearly. Becoming conscious of our different ‘selves’ requires curiosity and honesty. There will be aspects of ourselves that we would prefer not to acknowledge, as they don’t sit easily with our sense of who we are. But for the real blind spots, we’re going to need other people. Other people are going to be an invaluable source of information, if we can be receptive to their impressions of us and genuinely test that out against our own experience of ourselves. Some years ago, I was living and working in one of our retreat centres. Working so closely together it was easy to come to conclusions about what each of my ‘sisters’ most needed to work on. Then the implication dawned on me: they probably each had their own opinions about me! I trusted their perspective and so it made sense to invite their collective feedback, even though it felt quite exposing. It was actually a relief to hear what they really thought, which centred around something I hadn’t really taken seriously until then. As the process of integration continues we have less need to hide, becoming less defensive and more at ease with ourselves and others; more adept at

acknowledging our experience while identifying with it less. This leads us on into the other stages of spiritual practice and gradually, but significantly, changes the nature of our future actions – and therefore our future ‘selves’. As our experience of ourself changes we realise we are not the fixed entities we thought we were. We have all had moments when the contradictions of our various ‘selves’ drop away and there is a qualitative shift to what we might describe as being bright, clear, loving, expansive, or at peace, giving us confidence in the transformative effect of the Buddha’s teaching. Integration becomes a matter of aligning more and more with the example of the Buddha, and the kinship of knowing that we share this potential with all others.

Padmasambhava’s Handprint, Nepal

Padmasambhava and the Copper-Coloured Mountain

Facing Mount Kanchenjunga, 1991

‘Padmasambhava represents the Nirmanakaya or Created Body of the Buddha, Avalokitesvara his Sambhogakaya or Body of Glory, and Amitabha his Dharmakaya or Body of Absolute Reality. Thus the whole pagoda-type temple and its three principal images, is in fact a representation of the Trikaya or Triple Body of the Buddha – the Triple Body that, in the form of body, speech, and mind, is potentially present in every human being.’


Celestial Hemisphere, Wellcome Collection

Energy + Pure Love: Padmasambhava and the Six Bardos Padmavajra 28 July – 4 August £259/182

On this retreat we will be devoting ourselves to the practice of the Sadhana of the Greatly Precious Guru Padmasambhava. The sadhana transmitted to us by Sangharakshita is simple, direct and profound and leads to the total transformation of our body, speech and mind. In 1975 on a meditation seminar, Urgyen Sangharakshita taught the contemplation of the Root Verses from the Bardo Thodol terma. On this retreat, as well as practising the Padmasambhava Sadhana, we will study the Precious Guru’s essential words rousing us to use the bardos of life, dream, meditation, moment of death, intermediate state and rebirth as spaces of total transformation.


We will also practice the contemplation of the six elements, and puja with chanting of Padmasambhava mantras and invocations. The hour has come when energy and pure love are needed. May I cast off jealousy and meditate on the Guru, the Father-Mother. The Root Verses, Bardo Thodol

Blazing with Light + Love: Amitabha Sadhana Vidyamala, Paramartha, Pramudita + Punyamala 20-27 Sept £259/182

One night I found myself as it were out of the body and in the presence of Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light. The colour of the Buddha was a deep, rich, luminous red, like that of rubies, though at the same time soft and glowing, like the light of the setting sun. The Thousand Petalled Lotus, 1976


We have the good fortune to practise with a form of Amitabha that directly derives from Sangharakshita’s vision. Simple though profound, it brings us into contact with the deep mystery, boundless light and infinite love of the great Buddha at the head of the Padma family. We will participate in the lineage of all the Amitabha practitioners who have brought his qualities into the world over the centuries – qualities of light, warmth, love, meditation, calm and discriminating wisdom. Come and practice with us to make sure these qualities continue to ceaselessly pour out into the world for the sake of all, with the boundless abundance of the beautiful red Buddha, as we co-create his pure land, Sukhavati, the western land of bliss.

She who Fulfils all Wishes: White Tara Sadhana Vessantara + Moksanandi 18-25 October ÂŁ259/182

All forms of Tara express her boundless love and compassion. White Tara adds further dimensions: the seven eyes of wisdom, as well as work with light-auras to enhance vital energy and prolong life. During the retreat there will be a full introduction to the self-visualization of White Tara that Dhardo Rinpoche gave to the Order. As well as practising it for its own sake, we shall also use it as an example to help us come to a deeper appreciation of the principles of sadhana in general. So the retreat is suitable for any Order member who wants to take their sadhana practice further, as well as an opportunity for White Tara practitioners to come together.


The retreat will be mainly in silence, with periods of teaching, guided meditations and devotional practice.

Thy Witness, Sahaja,

That goodwill which is the heart’s release Saddhaloka

Sitting in the courtyard yesterday in the summer sun, drinking coffee and talking with friends, a grey haired man crossed the yard pushing a bent figure in a wheelchair. The figure in the wheelchair raised his hand and the man pushing stopped and leaned forward. A few words and smiles were exchanged and they went on. It was Ashvajit, an Order member of many years, taking Bhante, Urgyen Sangharakshita, our founder and teacher, out for a walk around Adhisthana. Some of us sitting in the courtyard had just finished a retreat based around the Mind Training teachings coming from Atisa and his disciples. These teachings ask of the practitioner a complete and wholehearted dedication to developing the deepest wisdom and broadest compassion. They are insistent that Wisdom alone is not enough. Compassion alone is not enough. Both must be developed together. The wisdom of Emptiness and No-self needs to go hand in hand with a life of love and complete unselfishness. This insistence on a process of transformation that takes in all the dimensions of our being is also central

to the teaching at the heart of Triratna, that lays out the Five Stages and Aspects of a Dharma Life. Here I look briefly at the stage of Positive Emotion. In an early Buddhist scripture from the Pali Canon called the Itivuttika, there is a description by the Buddha of the quality of metta, loving kindness. Ever since first hearing it I have been very fond of the translation that speaks of metta as ‘that goodwill, which is the heart’s release’, and of it as ‘it shines and burns and flashes forth’ like the moon’s radiance, or the sun coming out from behind the clouds after the monsoon rains.


An attitude of metta, friendliness, kindness seems fundamental to a life in the Dharma. In the first stage of the metta bhavana, we cultivate that attitude of friendliness and kindness in ourselves, and then go on to extend it towards all beings. We can reflect that just as I seek after happiness, so every being seeks after happiness. And yet we end up suffering. In this way we begin to cultivate a deepening empathy and understanding for all life. Sangharakshita has spoken of metta as ‘objective emotion’. An emotion that is in accord with the way things are. With metta we start to align the momentum of our being with reality. To be real, metta needs go beyond the meditation cushion and be expressed. Other people are our working ground. We can develop patience, understanding, empathy. We can be generous. We can learn the art of forgiveness, and start to let go of past hurts and grievances. We can rejoice in the good qualities and achievements of others. We can express gratitude for all that life has given us. Through countless

small acts of kindness and concern the work of selftranscendence can go on. But metta and positive emotion are not just about smiles and gentle words. They can have quiet depths that are easily overlooked and underestimated, both in ourselves and others. If metta is just associated with an easy friendliness and warmth, one can overlook the deep concern for others that can manifest quietly in all sorts of ways. Faith, shraddha, has been spoken of as metta directed towards the higher. People often underestimate their own faith because they look for it in the wrong place. They look for feelings of devotion, which do not come naturally or easily to everyone, and overlook the strong emotional momentum that underpins their life in the Dharma, the trust and confidence that enables them to keep going through thick and thin. Positive Emotion could perhaps be more accurately called Skilful Emotion. Living ethically, which means living unselfishly, reveals itself in a clear conscience and an open-handed, open-hearted attitude, in true metta. It is a progressive path. Letting go, giving up self-clinging, naturally unfolds into spiritual death and spiritual rebirth, the later stages of the path. Freedom from self-clinging in its turn makes for a joy and expansiveness in one’s being, in greater love and faith, greater trust and confidence in the path and teaching, and we start to sense the blessings, the adhisthana, of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas.


कथा n. conversation, talk, discussion about the Dharma

Avalokitesvara communicating the Dharma Prajnaparamita Manuscript

Madhyamaka and/or Yogacara Dhivan + Silavadin 24-27 January £111/78

Buddhist philosophy in the first millennium in India flourished mainly in two different schools: Madhyamaka with its non-theory of emptiness, and Yogacara with its consciousness-only view. Sometimes they are presented as if you need to choose between the two, as between the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, Tolstoi or Dostoyevski, as if you can’t have both. But they might also be seen as complementary.


In this seminar we are going to explore the leading ideas of both schools. We will be introduced to the wonderful and subtle thought of Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, Dignaga, Chandrakirti, and others. How does this relate to Sangharakshita’s thinking? What are the merits and pitfalls of each school? And what is the meaning of all this for a Buddhist practitioner? A seminar for Order Members and Mitras with talks, reflections and discussion groups.

Transforming Ignorance into Wisdom: Brahmajala + Honeyball Suttas


Subhuti + team 15-22 March £259/182

The more that false views are genuinely and radically abandoned, the more there shines forth what is variously termed Insight, or Perfect Vision or Wisdom; and conversely the more Insight, or Perfect Vision, or Wisdom, shines forth, the more false views are abandoned. Sangharakshita, The Ten Pillars Wrong views lead to a distortion of human experience and, at best, prevent genuine spiritual aspiration achieving its full flowering, at worst they lead to all the evils of which human beings are capable. Until we have seen things directly as they are, we rely upon Right Views for our practice of the Dharma. We need to clear our minds of the wrong views that make up so much of our thought and attitudes, and at the same time, we must acquire the set of ideas about things that direct us back to how they really are, to live in harmony with ourselves and others and gain liberation from suffering. Subhuti will use the Brahmajala and Honeyball Suttas to investigate the theme of Views; with discussion, exploration of ‘reaction practice’, meditation and devotional ritual.

Asangha + the Ethics of a Bodhisattva Asanga, together with his half-brother Vasubandhu, was the great 4th century founder of the Yogacara School. Renowned as both a meditator and abhidharmist, Asanga drew on all the existing Mahayana scriptures to compile the Bodhisattvabhumi, the Stage of The Bodhisattva, which became know as the Mahayana’s most comprehensive manual on the training and practice of a bodhisattva.

Dhammarati, Parami + Saddhaloka 12-19 April £259/182

Padmapani Ajanta Caves

To augment our study of the text we will be performing the Bodhicitta practice as well as puja.


We will be looking at chapter 10, on Ethics, which goes into what it means to give and to receive a precept, purify intention, make a correction after failure and more, all very immediately and strikingly relevant to any Order member, and with perhaps special significance for those involved in ordaining others.

A Survey of Buddhism: Study Convention Subhuti + team 13-20 Sept £259/182


Maitreyi Text to be confirmed Ratnadharini Gampopa’s Jewel Ornament of Liberation Ratnaguna Milarepa + The Shepherd’s Search for Mind Saddhanandi The Three Chief Paths of Tsongkhapa Sagaramati The Udana – Chapter One Sraddhapa The Sutra of Golden Light

This “study convention” will comprise a number of separate study seminars on foundational texts. You will book to study one of these texts with one of our most experienced study leaders, and will primarily be studying the original text itself, though informed and augmented by Bhante’s perspective on it given in seminars from the early years of the movement. The study seminars will be woven together with a series of talks from Subhuti on the practice of Dharma Study, time for reflection, and a programme of shared shrine room practice. For further information on each seminar, see our website.

Refuge Tree, Chintamani

Coming, Going, Moksananda

Spiritual Death and the Maya Way Vijayamala

Grasses gently moved by soft breezes show us the inevitability of change in every moment. As we look into the insubstantial, ungraspable nature of experience, we can’t even see where one moment stops and the next starts; there are no concrete, clearly delineated moments, let alone discrete separate entities. The filaments of the grasses appear clearly distinct, but with each movement of air more of their chaff is lost. When we talk about what is happening we may refer to ‘the grasses’ and ‘the breeze’ and we will of course be aware of ‘ourselves’ looking on. We may even have a clear intellectual grasp of the fact that what we are witnessing is always in motion. But how often do we stop to question what lies behind the labels: grasses, wind, change or perceiving mind? Even with this small example there are so many assumptions involved. We feel we know what we are talking about, we have a strong experiential sense of something happening, but how often do we stop to take in the sheer impossibility of conveying the entirety of the experience? The shifting play of light patterns, the experience we call the colour green, with its

many shades and variations, the changes in the space around the grasses, which we call air, but which is also coterminous with the sky? The feeling that we have that this is something that we are observing which is ‘out there’ and separate to this sense of self which is somehow located ‘in here’, and doing the observing?


You may object that these labels and conventions give us a way of communicating with each other and functioning effectively in the world. This is of course true, but they tend to take over, and we lose touch with the depth of mystery and inconceivability that lies behind even such a simple experience. It is the ungraspable nature of this and all experience that leads Buddhist tradition to talk of it as ‘empty’. It is empty of any discrete essence or fixed substance, it is empty of a definable person, a concrete object or a separately distinguishable act of observing. Empty of the grasper, grasped or of grasping. What is being described here is the process nature of reality. If we focus on the changes in what we perceive to be consistent, especially in people, we may experience this in terms of death. But because of that process nature of reality, where there is death there will also be rebirth. The grasses are losing chaff and being constantly eroded by the breeze, while simultaneously, internal chemical reactions are creating new growth in the stems. The process of renovation, of rejuvenation is also constant, even when the grasses apparently ‘die’ their energy and fibres form part of the conditions for new growth. These two different aspects of the dynamic nature of experience are always present. What transforms the process into ‘spiritual’ death

is hinted at with the terms ‘grasper’ and ‘grasped’. This dynamic process is constant, but when we try to resist it, either crudely by believing we will go on for ever and our relationship to the objects, institutions, environment and people that make up our worlds will be constant and consistent; or even subtly, by defining ourselves as a constant in relation to experience: we will cause suffering. Everywhere we look there is evidence of grasping and grasped. It’s what the Buddha refers to as dukkha in the 4 noble truths, and the ignorance (i.e. lack of acceptance) of the dynamic process nature of reality is its underlying cause. As this distortion of reality is seen through more and more, and we come into a more direct open relationship to experience, we learn to enjoy the change, even enjoy being change. ‘Life cannot belong to us, we belong to life, life is King’. The grasping tendency reduces and can lead to a complete absence of clinging. There is no need any more to cling even to a separate self ‘grasping’ at discrete experiences. This is what is described as ‘spiritual’ death – the death of the illusion of being able to cling to a self. Because it is the death of an illusion, a distorted view of how things are, nothing has been lost. When we have stopped relating in terms of things that could actually be born or die, the grasses, breeze, sky and our perception are as clear, distinct, sharp and uniquely precious and mysterious as they always were, and all the more so in fact because of our lack of grasping. This is what is known as the ‘maya way’: the clearly apparent display of conditioned coproduction, which in no way obstructs it’s insubstantial, ungraspable nature.

The Path of the Inner Life, 1975

‘The more attenuated the ego-sense becomes, the more abundantly will selfless activities be manifested, for the Way of Emptiness is also the Way of Compassion, and to become one therefore means to become the other. Since Compassion is not a static principle but a purely transcendental activity, it is personified as Avalokitesvara. Wisdom and Love, are the static and dynamic aspects, respectively, of the one Supreme State of Nirvana. In reality they are the intension and extension, the depth and the breadth, of a single realisation.’

Image: Nagadipa

SikkhÄ /Training

Milarepa + Marpa, Rubin Museum

The Inexhaustible Lamp: a teacher training retreat for all Order Members Ratnaguna + team 10-17 May £259/182

A single bodhisattva may establish many hundreds of thousands of living beings in enlightenment without his mindfulness being diminished. In fact, not only does it not diminish, it grows stronger. Likewise, the more you teach and demonstrate virtuous qualities to others, the more you grow with respect to these virtuous qualities. This is the door of the Dharma called ‘The Inexhaustible Lamp.’ The Vimalakirti Nirdesa


This year we are extending this training to all Order members, whether experienced Dharma teachers or not. Those with little experience will benefit from learning what it means to teach the Dharma, and will be supported to find their own particular style that allows them to communicate the Dharma, and themselves, most fully and effectively. Those who are experienced teachers will benefit from looking afresh at their teaching. We will encourage you to develop further as teachers, to make sure that your teaching is fresh and exciting, and to make sure that your teaching is a real spiritual practice.

Groups + Pioneers

25-28 Apr 14-17 Nov £111/78

Pioneering heroes and heroines who run Triratna Groups need to nurture sources of inspiration and support if their efforts are to be sustainable. These weekends are intended to encourage the sharing of ideas, tips, experience, inspiration and friendship so that we can keep on giving the Dharma.


Essentially this means enabling the deepening of our own practice together with developing our ability to really connect with others and build Sangha – all through the methods available to us: meditation, communication, focused discussion and study, ritual and spacious enjoyment of being! These events are led by the Triratna Development Team and a team of experienced Order Members who are passionate making the Dharma available to more people.

The Lightening-Bolt of Compassion Padmavajra

In the long, hot summer of 1976 I was ordained by Urgyen Sangharakshita. My ordination took place on a weekend retreat in a farmhouse in a forest. The ordination involved a number of elements, including Sangharakshita initiating me into the Buddha-form that I have meditated on ever since. He also gave me the name Padmavajra. It was a magical weekend. Looking back, it seems to me that I was given a vivid vision of life completely transformed. For just a while I seemed to occupy a different world, a world transfigured by the Dharma: a golden world in which the mantra I was given silently resounded by itself, perfuming and pervading everything with a profound yet undefined meaning. At that time, everything seemed possible. When Sangharakshita initiated me he told me that the Buddha-form I would meditate on was a vision of the end of the Path – of what I would become. He also told me that this Buddha was what I really was – in eternity – if I could only but realise it. For a while his words seemed to become a reality. Returning home to my tiny room in London I went to sleep filled with the richness of the weekend, only


to enter a strange dream in which a lightning-bolt threw itself from a thangka of my chosen Buddha – a lightning-bolt that went straight to my chest, breaking into me and burning the heart. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced. I thought that I would die and I forced myself awake, shaking awake the friend who was sharing my room. Over the years I have often reflected on the dream of the lightning-bolt. It seems, somehow, a message about spiritual death and spiritual rebirth. For me, before my conditioned, habitual being can die, I need the vision of the beauty, magic, richness and meaning of the Buddha. I need to be lifted up to what is possible. But then again, when I see the beauty of the Buddha, it is made clear to me that such beauty is not to be trifled with. The Buddha’s beauty exists to transform me and whatever is not consonant with that beauty will be ruthlessly destroyed, because that beauty is real and reality is terrifying to what is unreal. So the lightningbolt is also telling me that I need to be thorough in the practice of the precepts, of mindfulness, metta and devotion, I need, in other words, a more thorough training in the stages of integration and positive emotion. Even with this, if past experience is anything to go by, the Path to the chosen Buddha – to the Beloved – to Love Itself - will always burn. An obscure Indian Sufi says words that speak to me: For the men of burnt hearts, there is no cure. Love is all trial and affliction. Love is the sweetness of union and the bitterness of separation: it is extreme loneliness and poverty. It is extreme love... and kindness and compassion. It is the Friend. It is blame and accusation. It is all loss... and it is all Beauty.

‘ I seemed to occupy a different world, a world transfigured by the Dharma: a golden world in which the mantra I was given silently resounded by itself, perfuming and pervading everything with a profound yet undefined meaning.’ Padmavajra, The Long, Hot Summer of 2018

Order + Mitra Weekends

Dispelling the Cloud of Suffering: Triratna Day Weekend Parami + Dhammarati 5-7 April £74/52

There’s a big black cloud hanging over the whole human race, and it needs to be dispelled by the united efforts of us all. The Endlessly Fascinating Cry, 1973


Over this weekend which marks the anniversary of our Order and Community, we will enter into the myth of the Bodhisattva which sits at the heart of Triratna, through talks, meditation, discussion and ritual. We will engage the tension between attending to our inner lives and expressing a deep solidarity with other living beings in our relations with the world; thereby approaching the nonduality of Wisdom and Compassion. This is Bodhicitta – symbolised by the wish-fulfilling jewel held to the heart of Avalokitesvara, the archetypal Bodhisattva of compassion. Come to explore together how to participate in this myth, train in the Bodhisattva path, and unite in our efforts to alleviate the cloud of suffering.

Tears of Grief + Gratitude under a Microscope, Rose-Lynn Fisher

A special transmission outside the scriptures; No dependence upon words and letters; Direct pointing to the mind; Seeing into one’s own nature and realizing Buddhahood. Chan Verse

The Essence of Zen

Taking our lead from Sangharakshita’s commentary, through short talks, discussion and meditation we’ll immerse ourselves in the uncompromising nature of this verse and explore the principles within: that the Dharma is caught not taught, it is primarily an experience beyond words; understanding is not that which is based on hearsay, conjecture or gossip but on direct knowledge; the Dharma points directly to the mind and a complete withdrawal of all projections, positive and negative; and, finally, realisation is of the nature of pure nondual awareness without distinction of subject and object.

Saddhanandi, Manjuvajra + Sona 27-29 Sept £74/52


Sangharakshita’s original lectures from 1965 were based around a 12th century verse attributed to Bodhidharma, each line representing a fundamental principle not only of the Zen tradition but of Dharma practice generally.

Open Retreats

Adhisthana Swales, Image: Viramati

Flowers like the lotus, the water lily, and the moon lily do not grow on the dry ground in the wilderness, but do grow in the swamps and mud banks. Just so, the Buddha-qualities grow in those living beings who are like swamps and mud banks of passions. Vimalakirti Nirdesa

The Bodhisattva’s Life

Do you ever wonder how a Bodhisattva would live? As part of the interconnected web of life, aware of the challenges we face in the 21st century, we see that, in reality, all phenomena are empty, and yet Compassion extends a hand to all Beings: in the tension between the two lays the real play, lila, of the Bodhisattva.

Sahajatara + Saraha 3-6 October £111/78

Finding power and confidence in ourselves and our relationships, in meditation and friendship, through joy and love we can engage with a deeply unjust world. Together we can transform both Self and World.

A retreat focused on ‘Engaged Buddhism’ with meditation, reflection, discussion, devotion and opportunities to explore how we can put our aspirations into effective action, for the sake of all that lives.


Come, let us wonder together, and let us empower ourselves! Let us live lives full of the jewels of the Dharma.

Guanyin, Rijks Museum

Gender Diverse Long Weekend Welcome to our annual weekend retreat, which is for anyone in Triratna who experiences themselves as gender diverse (for example intersex, trans, genderqueer, non-binary, genderless, gender-questioning, gender-curious…)

Jnanamitra, Kamalanandi, Shraddhasiddhi 30 May – 2 June £111/78

It is a great chance to practise together, discuss the Dharma as it relates to our situations, and connect with other gender diverse people, in a very supportive setting.


The retreat is open to anyone who has at least six months experience of meditation as taught within Triratna.

Weekend for Parents

Karunagita, Lilapa, Maitrinita + Upayavira 21-23 June ÂŁ74/52

This retreat for parents at Adhisthana is an opportunity to step back from the immediate demands of family life for a weekend and focus on raising children as an effective context for practice. The retreat is led by Order Members who are parents with a range of different experiences. Meditation, talks, ritual, workshops and discussion will explore the opportunities for practice and challenges that come with being a parent, and how we can find or co-create the support and conditions we need. Karunagita is author of A Path for Parents.

Buddha Sketch Allen Ginsberg


Open to all Order Members, Mitras and other parents practising within Triratna. Please note this is not a family retreat and we are not able to offer provision for children.

Om Mani Padme Hum Wall Carving, Tibet

The Jewel in the Lotus, 1971

‘So if one can practise this visualisation and mantra recitation in this way, then one becomes completely transformed, completely transfigured. One becomes as it were radiant, one becomes, one may say, a jewel, and the world in which you live, the world in which you move, the world in which you have your being, your environment, this becomes your lotus. So in this way, practising, realising, experiencing in this way, oneself becomes, oneself is the Jewel in the Lotus.’

The Song of Los William Blake

Dwelling in Reality Subhuti

from a talk given on the Manjughosa Stuti Sadhana retreat at Adhisthana in 2017 You can see in the structure of the sadhana a gradual deepening connection and identification with Manjughosa. All the preliminaries are stored up: you have experienced a powerful reverence; felt the universe alive and yourself in solidarity with it; you have let go of false constructions of reality, trained to see things in the ‘Maya Way’; and you have developed a sensitivity to a sort of supra-aesthetic mode of experiencing the illumined image. So, having prepared very fully, you then set aside all thought and ideas. You open to the images, and let not merely their beauty and power, but the meaning contained within, speak to you, without trying to analyse or define. You invite Manjughosa, and he, delightedly appears. There is a communication, and you are let into a profound transcendental drama. By Manjughosa’s communication with you, you are lifted up to his level.


This is just the principle of communication: when you enter into real communication with anybody, with a real awareness of the other person, something of their nature is communicated to you, if you’re sensitive to it and allow it to touch you. In genuine communication there is an exchange of self and other, and if you’re in communication with someone unequivocally more awake than you are, then there is a very definite lifting up of yourself. When you set yourself aside, and open yourself in reverence, then Manjughosa can appear and communicate with you; and in communicating with you, you are able to absorb, imbibe, take on, what he is. If you are able to enter into the Sadhana, which you will do more and more as the years go by – more fully, wholeheartedly and openly, with greater depth – you will be transformed by your contact with the yiddam. When the stream of dharma begins to flow, then these images arise which embody and express the reality of that dimension of consciousness. In contact with Manjughosa, your lotus of knowledge and kindness, at least for the duration of the connection, will fully bloom. Manjughosa’s consciousness will seep into your consciousness more and more subtly and deeply, the gentle voice echoing more and more in the caverns of your mind and heart. When it comes to the dissolution of the image, it condenses and concentrates in front of you, and is absorbed into you. Then, one should become absorbed in samadhi for as long as it abides, in the state of union of quiescence and insight, the union of samatha and vipassana. When it comes to this point, simply leave space and allow whatever happens to happen. For a

little while, if you allow samadhi to come over you, you sit in non-self-hood. This is what you have enacted the whole drama for, and what it’s all about. Leave the space. Just relax and let go. Let the samadhi take you over, and let it endure. Because this is really what is going to do the work. That samadhi, if you allow it to unfold within you, will gradually transform you. That samadhi itself is shaking the harsh structure of your being apart, destroying the veils of illusion, and carrying you to the state of a Buddha. So, the whole practice in a sense, leads up to this vajra-like samadhi, which is its greatest gift. All you have to do is set up the conditions, give it space, and it will flower, in you, in me, amongst us: transforming the Order and supporting us in transforming the world. Through the vajra-like samadhi, having abandoned completely the klesas, contrived and inborn, may I make an end of the jneya-obscuration, with all its parts, and gain the wisdom of the Sugatas. Manjughosa Stuti Sadhana


Order Weekends + Conventions Men’s Order Weekends: 1-3 February 1-3 November Women’s Order Weekends: 28 February – 3 March 5-8 December Combined Convention at Wymondham: 6-11 August


Anagarika Convention: 8-13 Sept

Order gatherings are like the blowing of a great conch where we cross fields, travel through woods, along ancient tracks to gather together for ritual, pause, play and renewal. Some of us have returned to the market place with bliss bestowing hands helping to heal the sickness of distraction, fear and confusion. Some of us work alone patrolling the borders of civility: tireless and unthanked work. Some of us live in protected realms surrounded by images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, maintaining the conditions that allow others to come and listen, meditate and reflect on the holy Dharma. Others of us are in the deserted valleys reaching again and again for the golden thread.

Ruined Chapter House, Hereford Cathedral, JMW Turner

Young Buddhists

“…while still young, a black-haired young person endowed with the blessings of youth, in the prime of life, I shaved off my hair and beard, put on the yellow robe, Young and went forth from the home life into Facilitators homelessness.” 22-24 February Majjhima Nikaya, 36 Invitation Only In these retreats at Adhisthana we Sub25 Retreat follow in the archetypal footsteps of the 16-18 August Buddha, leaving behind the world of Open to all technology, busyness, and the demands of modern life, and entering into a The Big One – different way of being with other young 11th annual people. Our retreats combine meditation Sub35 retreat: and silence, discussion and friendship, 25-27 October inspiring collective rituals and time Open to all for solitude. Whether you’re new to Buddhism and meditation or have been practising for some time there is an event for you.


Young Order Seminar 18-20 January

What the Buddha discovered as a youth all those years ago is still alive in the connections between young people practising the Dharma today. Come and discover it for yourself!

Image: ClearVision

Elders: for all ordained by Sangharakshita It is sometimes said: ‘There is no revolutionary like an old revolutionary.’ The young revolutionary is hot-blooded, impulsive, and usually they get over it and settle down and conform, but the real revolutionary is one who, the older he gets, the more revolutionary he gets. Sangharakshita, Seminar on the 7-Fold Puja

28 June – 1 July £111/78/dana option to stay until 4 July

Much of what now is can be traced back to the efforts of your generation. These events integrate that fundamental element of history, lineage and longstanding friendship into the mandala that Adhisthana is becoming; and they are hosted here in recognition of you and the conditions you have created that have supported all who have followed over the years.


A long weekend for the first generation of Order Members. A chance to sit in a room with those who share a lived experience of the early years of this movement, celebrating and rejoicing, recognising and remembering the years past, letting things go, sharing experience gained and learned from, and continuing to contribute to the discourse and myth of the Order.

Triratna International Gathering 22-26 August Details + Bookings to be announced

Triratna Buddhist Centres from across Europe, Adhisthana and Buddhafield are joining forces for the sixth Triratna International Gathering. Part festival, part retreat, this family-friendly event at Adhisthana will bring together 500 people expressing something of our depth, breadth and diversity. More information will be added to a dedicated page on The Buddhist Centre Online as the details of talks, workshops, arts and other events are confirmed.


Such a large gathering of people from all over the Triratna world, in a beautiful and rural environment, aims to inspire, uplift and facilitate connection across the wider Triratna community. It is open to all, newcomers to order members, and people of all ages — including children. Everyone is welcome!

Image: Tom Robinson

Operations Team


Urgyen Sangharakshita

Saddhanandi Chair

Dayamala Manager

Bodhiketu Finance Manager

Matthew Admin

James Kitchen

Olmer Kitchen

Rochani Housekeeping

Yashodeva Site + Maintenance

Sanghadeva Site + Garden

My divine companions, a Dharma-family... In an exultant mood, with joyful laughter, Let us set out together, never separating, for the terrestrial pure land. Dudjom Rimpoche

Urgyen Annexe

Preceptors College + International Council

Order Office

FutureDharma Fund

Sthanashraddha Secretary

Saddhaloka College Chair

Aryajaya Order Convenor

Amalavajra Fundraising


Parami Lokeshvara Preceptors College Order Convenor


Dhammarati IC Convenor


Shubhavyuha IC Assistant

Vimalamati Convenors’ Assistant

Jai Communications



4-11 European Chairs Assembly 18-20 Young Order Seminar 90 24-27 Madhyamaka/Yogacara 42

5-7 Dissolving the Cloud of Suffering 68 12-19 Asangha + the Ethics of a Bodhisattva 46 25-28 Groups + Pioneers 60

February 1-3 Men’s Order Weekend 88 3-10 Men’s Private Preceptors 15-22 Women’s Private Preceptors 22-24 Young Facilitators 90 28-3 Women’s Order Weekend 88



8-15 Preceptors College 15-22 Transforming Ignorance into Wisdom 44

Order Members Order + Mitra Open to All

May 3-10 Anapanasati + the Open Dimension of Being 10 10-17 The Inexhaustible Lamp: teacher training retreat 58 12-17 Presidents 17-26 Bodhicitta: the Heart of Buddhism 12 30-2 Gender Diverse Sangha 76

June 14-21 Sadhana: Integrating in the Maya Way 14 21-23 Parents 78 28-1 Elders 92



28-4 Padmasambhava Sadhana + the Six Bardos 30

3-6 The Bodhisattva’s Life 74 11-17 Women Mitra Convenors 18-25 White Tara Sadhana 34 25-27 The Big One: Sub35 90

August 6-11 Combined Order Convention at Wymondham 88 16-18 Sub25 Retreat 90 22-26 International Gathering 94 29-8 International Council

September 8-13 Anagarika Convention 88 13-20 A Survey of Buddhism: Study Convention 48 20-27 Six Elements 16 20-27 Amitabha Sadhana 32 27-29 The Essence of Zen 70

November 1-3 Men’s Order Weekend 88 4-14 Preceptors College 14-17 Groups + Pioneers 60 15-22 The Smooth Path to Emancipation: Mula Yogas 18 28-5 Blake’s Mandala 20

December 5-8 Women’s Order Weekend 88

Sangharakshita, 1999

‘…when that stream of non-egoistic spiritual energy starts manifesting through a number of people simultaneously, those people will be literally hands or arms, even faces of Avalokitesvara… It is therefore imperative that each and every one of you should seek to transform your effective going for refuge into real going for refuge, should seek to attain stream entry or the arising of real bodhicitta. It is up to you. The future of the Order, of the movement is in your hands.’

Editor Akasajoti Design Akasajoti + Dhammarati Cover Cave of the Hands, Argentina Images Alokavira Chintamani ClearVision Dhammarati Moksananda Nagadipa Sahaja Suvajra Viramati

Contact Adhisthana Coddington Ledbury Herefordshire HR8 1JL 01531641726

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.